Clark joins GC’s Podcast to talk Florida Gators vs. South Carolina

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the Florida Gators vs. South Carolina game on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, South Carolina.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Chris Clark of Gamecock Central to help us breakdown how Will Muschamp is doing at South Carolina, plus the mindset of the program.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the latest injuries and how David Reese’s comments were needed for this team headed into this week.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, midweek, and we’re going to talk some football today. Surprise, surprise. There is a football game this week. We’re going to bring on our good buddy, Mr. Chris Clark, from Gamecocks Central. Good friend of both of ours. Really knows everything about South Carolina. Knows everything about Will Muschamp, and I think there’s going to be a football game this weekend.
Nick:​At noon too.
Andrew:​Here’s the thing. I say it’s going to be a football game, because that’s what they call it. I’m really thinking it might be a snooze fest.
Nick:​Maybe we’ll be surprised.
Andrew:​50-50?
Nick:​Two bad teams get together. No. We probably won’t get a combined 50. Maybe two bad teams get together, and you get a good game. Who knows?
Andrew:​Maybe. I would like to see it though. Can we just play flag football or seven on seven, and just kind of see what can go on here and score some points? I mean, I think you and I both agree that there’s not going to be much points scored against this, but can we agree to play seven on seven and see what happens?
Nick:​Maybe like ultimate frisbee, instead of football.
Andrew:​Something. Something to make it fun. We’ll talk to him in a second. Couple news and things to get out of the way real quick. No new updates on the suspended guys. Rick Wells and Jordan Scarlett did have their preliminary trial things yesterday. Nick, I believe they signed, correct?
Nick:​Yeah. This is all semantics at this point. Everyone that’s agreed to it just goes in front of the judge, and the judge officially places them in the program. Now Rick Wells and Jordan Scarlett will have to go in front of the Student Conduct Board, but they can’t go in front of the Student Conduct Board until they’re officially placed into the program. Like Antonio Callaway doesn’t go to court until a week from yesterday, Tuesday the 14th. So then his process with Student Conduct Board would start.
Andrew:​Okay. So there’s no update there. The big news is Brett Heggie’s out for the year. We kind of hinted at that ACL injury for Brett. Tough luck. Was playing probably the best ball of any Florida lineman. Kadarius Toney and Jachai Polite are both out this week for South Carolina with injuries. Hopefully you get those guys back for UAB, and then Florida State. Get Tyrie Cleveland. He’s going to be back again and playing. That’s there.
​Nick, we’re going to talk about this in a minute, but what a difference a week makes, man. Randy Shannon had a good press conference a week ago, and then this Monday, that was a train wreck, brother.
Nick:​Not a lot of answers. Sounded a lot like a McElwain conference.
Andrew:​Would you agree it was a train wreck?
Nick:​Yeah. It was not good.
Andrew:​Yeah. Nick, we’ll go to Chris. We’ll talk to Chris real quick, get his thoughts on South Carolina, get his thoughts on Willy Muschamp, and we’ll come back and break down Chris’ comments, and we’ll continue trying to break this game down. Maybe talk a little coaching search. Here we go. Let’s go to our man, Chris.
​Welcome back, guys. We’re with my good man, Chris Clark. Chris, up there in Carolina country, and I’m not going to lie to you, my man. Had I talked about this game at the beginning of the year, I’d have thought this game had a little bit more relevance to it. I definitely didn’t think that Florida would be coming into this game with an interim coach. Did you think that all? What are you thinking up there?
Chris:​No. I didn’t foresee the situation with Jim McElwain, certainly, especially if you guys didn’t see it. Y’all do a great job covering Florida, obviously, down there. Like you said, I don’t think anybody down there guessed that they would have Randy Shannon at the helm and be where they were. I think people, in terms of South Carolina, I think there was certainly some improvement expected this year.
​The interesting thing about South Carolina is people thought the offense would be more productive than it has been, and would sort of carry the team, and the defense would be the weak link. It’s sort of been the opposite. Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised with Will Muschamp team the defense being a little better than expected, or a good bit better than expected. With where these teams are at, this game doesn’t really have any relevance in terms of the SEC East Championship this year. I mean, I picked Georgia at the beginning of the year. I thought they were the most complete team, in terms of having the ability to head to Atlanta.
​This is still, for me, a difficult game for South Carolina. Maybe not a lot of people agree with me on that. I think it’s a game they’re going to have to play well in to win. There’s still a lot of talent on that Florida sideline, as poorly as they’ve played. South Carolina hasn’t really put together a dominant performance this year, by any means, with the exception of maybe a couple halves against Missouri and Arkansas. They’re going to have to play well to win. It’s still an interesting game for a lot of reasons. South Carolina trying to get to the seventh win, and sort of get to that plateau after last season’s campaign.
Andrew:​What would you say is the mindset up there going into this game? Does South Carolina see this, obviously Will Muschamp probably as the head coach sees that this is a game that is still going to be competitive, but what’s the mindset up there of this Florida team? Is it a team that is just in disarray, or what’s kind of the mindset?
Chris:​I doubt any of that will get talked about by the team or by Will Muschamp as he gets set to do his press conference here as we speak. I don’t think anybody’s going to go up to the podium, or the players are going to go up this week of practice and say, “I hear it’s a mess down there.” You’re just not going to hear that. I think privately there’s certainly a recognition that things have really sort of gone south in Gainesville with a coaching change in the middle of the season. They’ve got some injuries, obviously. The offense has not been productive down there. Defense has flipped at times. I think there’s that recognition.
​I think Coach Muschamp and his staff, they do a good job of just preparing the guys week to week. There haven’t been many games in which they’ve just overlooked the opponent or not taken a game seriously or anything like that. This isn’t a program that is any position to do that right now. You look back early this season, the Kentucky game. It was the third game of the year, but it was a big home game, a night game atmosphere. Remember, South Carolina only had one night game last year. A big atmosphere, a lot of recruits in town, and sort of fell flat. It wasn’t an effort thing. It was just they didn’t play all that well, and then maybe there was an issue with some guys not handling the moment, but I think they rebounded from that adequately.
​That’s why I say they’re going to have to play well this weekend to win. You go look at Florida’s roster, there’s still some really good football players on the roster. They just haven’t played up to ability. If you’re South Carolina, you hope they don’t pick this week to put it all together, and they don’t need to give them an opportunity to do that. I’m sure they’ll prepare like they always do, and try to go out there and play well. Certainly, they’re going to have to play better than they have recently on offense, in my opinion, to be successful.
Nick:​What’s the perception of Will Muschamp going into his second year?
Chris:​Look, guys, you know that people, fans of a team, would argue about a slice of bread. It’s just everything. Anything and everything, even among a common fanbase, they’ll have split opinions on certain things. The best I can give you is as much of a consensus as can be gathered on this is that people, I think, recognize the positives that have taken place in Columbia. I’ve had a lot of high school coaches who went to South Carolina’s spring practices last year, in advance of 2016, and were just almost bewildered by the product, in terms of they’ve got a long way to go from a roster standpoint. Then they go out and get six wins, and getting six wins and having a losing season in 2016 doesn’t sound like anything to write home about, but when your roster is towards the bottom of the SEC, combining talent and experience, that was a steady, strong performance to double your win total. They’re in position to expand on that this year.
​I think people recognize Will Muschamp is a big upgrade as a recruiting head coach from Steve Spurrier, because he’s extremely involved. They’ve modernized things around the football program. The facilities are getting better. Defensively and roster wise they’re getting a lot better. I think you even look at the recruiting on the offensive side of the ball, and it looks better too. The offensive product has not been there yet, and we could probably do an entire podcast just on that.
​I think people are still frustrated about not scoring more points this season. Even going to Georgia last week, there’s a chasm between those two rosters. It’s still really not that close. I mean, Georgia’s a veteran team at most spots, with really good players, really, really good players, as we all know. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb were the biggest difference in that game. It was a two touchdown game. South Carolina was competitive throughout the game. Nobody in the South Carolina football office wants to take any moral victory, but that sort of illustrated, I think, the progress that the program made from year to year. They’re still not where they need to be roster wise, but they’re getting more competitive. I think that’s what fans want to see more than anything.
Andrew:​I think that’s a good point, Chris. Muschamp had a total rebuild to make over up there. To kind of get into this game a little bit, obviously Florida has struggled both defensively and offensively in this game. What do you see as some of the key matchups for this game, in your opinion?
Chris:​To me, first of all, it’s a good thing for Florida to get Tyrie Cleveland back, to get another playmaker on the outside. South Carolina’s struggled a little bit at times with quarterback mobility. You look at the Texas A&M game, Kellen Mond really hurt them with some runs. As we know, Malik Zaire is not going to set the world on fire as a passer, at least based on the sample size we’ve seen, but he certainly can move around and run the football. Florida’s offensive line is probably more capable as shown, and they’ve got two or three backs who can run the football. I think just being sound in that is going to be key.
​South Carolina’s played the run this season a lot better than they did last year. It doesn’t mean they’re a great run stopping team, by any means, but they’re significantly better. That is going to be the biggest thing, just getting Florida into some 3rd and longs, where they’re going to get well out of their comfort zone.
​I think offensively, for South Carolina, just not turning the ball over, and just scoring points. Having more success in the red zone. That’s been an issue for this team. They haven’t been very successful running the ball this year. Rico Dowdle finally got healthy, and then went down against Tennessee with an injury. He was really, at that point, looked like their best running back. They didn’t get anything going against Georgia, which wasn’t a huge surprise. I think really anything they get in the run game going forward the rest of this season is a bonus. That’s going to be gravy.
​I don’t think you can expect to really dramatically turn around against talented defenses going forward. Jake Bentley’s going to be big. Continuing to move the chains is going to be big. When they get into the red zone, they’re going to have to have some success in converting some touchdowns, because that’s been an issue at times this year.
Nick:​How much did the offense change when Deebo Samuel went down?
Chris:​I mean, in terms of scheme, maybe not a ton, other than when you got a Deebo Samuel you’re designing ways to get him the ball, screens, jet sweeps. He was a down field threat, so he could take the top off of a defense. He could take short gains. You look at what happened against Kentucky, first offensive play of the game he takes a little RPO when he runs a slant, and he just catches it and completely outruns a guy for a 60+ yard touchdown. You don’t really have anybody else who can do that. There was a time when it was possible that Florida could have seen him this weekend. He was sort of working his way back, and had another setback. Now he’s out for the rest of the season.
​Schematically, maybe it doesn’t change a lot, but that was their best playmaker, and they’ve got some capable receivers, but nobody with his explosion. He’s a guy who any time he touched the ball he was a threat to score. They don’t have anybody else with his skillset on the roster. It just changes from the standpoint of the offense is not as potentially explosive with him out there. They don’t have a guy like him who can go out and just make that huge play on a consistent basis.
Andrew:​Roper is a guy that took a lot of criticism at Florida, but, in your mind, from what you know and stuff, how do you grade the job he’s done with a guy like Bentley, who really should be a true freshman this year?
Chris:​That’s a good question. You guys know from covering college football and recruiting and all that that, at the end of the day, you either succeed or fail in the eyes of fans, even media, and that’s fair. I’m always a guy who likes to take a deeper look and look at context and things like that. I think those things matter. I’ll say this. The offense has not been as productive as it needs to be. What exactly can you point to? It’s all of it.
​Some people get upset hearing that. They say, “Just fire Roper. Get somebody else. Call better plays.” Whatever. Certainly, I’m sure there are some calls that they want back, given that they took the bye week to assess what they were doing earlier this season, and looked at some different things, narrowed some things down, changed how they were calling the run game. Definitely, there’s a recognition that we need to do some things better.
​At one point they were playing without three starting offensive linemen. Deebo goes down. That’s a huge loss. That’s by far your best offensive player. Jake Bentley is still inexperienced, relatively. People don’t want to hear that, but earlier this season he had finally played a full season of college football games, in terms of number, 12 or 13 games.
​A lot of times this season they’ve had plays on where they haven’t worked. They had a 3rd and 1 against Georgia where a guy just runs to the hole, they get the 1st down. Instead, he steps backwards, and then runs into the pile. They’ve had multiple plays in the passing game that could have gone for touchdowns, and they were just maybe overthrown by a yard. There are things like that. The thing is, fans say, “Okay. That’s fine. Call something else. Get more production.”
​It’s sort of hard to put your finger on it. A lot of it goes back, to me, when they get down in the red zone they’re not able to run the ball effectively, and, as we know, those zones really condense, so the passing game’s not as wide open. That’s when they’ve had to settle for field goals, and they’ve had some kicking issues at times, especially earlier this season. That is the biggest issue, for me, that inability to run the ball. If they could do that better, whether it’s just they need some more production from the backs.
Nick:​Chris, you sound like me and Andrew talking about Will Muschamp at Florida. Can’t run the ball. Aren’t doing anything in the red zone. There’s kicking problems.
Chris:​Yes.
Nick:​I feel like I’ve read this story before.
Chris:​The thing is I feel like they’ve shown more explosiveness at times. They’ve had some pockets where you say this looks pretty good, but, like I said, it’s sort of a complex thing. If you just go back and look at all the games, there’s been this issue or that. Texas A&M it was just a deal where they couldn’t protect Jake Bentley late at all, and they couldn’t run the ball at all. They were getting whipped up front. Then they sort of get things going a little bit more. Say against Tennessee, they kept bogging down in the red zone, and a big part of that is inability to run the football.
​Again, you’re without your best wide receiver. You’re without the guy who started the season as your starting running back, and really when he was healthy looked like the best running back. Those things, to me, all matter. I don’t really know what the answer is. I think they do need to be more productive. We said that going into this month of November that if they’re going to notch a couple wins, if they’re going to score a big upset, they’re going to have to play a lot better offensively.
Andrew:​I agree. Chris, real quick, you and I have had this conversation off the air. I know kind of your thinking on it. Nick and I don’t think this is going to be a close football game. How do you see this game going about? Do you think Carolina can get that seventh win in this game up in Columbia?
Chris:​I would have to favor South Carolina in the game, with it being a home game, just based on what I’ve seen from the two teams the past couple weeks. South Carolina, interestingly, they haven’t played great at home this year. They had the loss to Kentucky. They barely beat Louisiana Tech late in that game. Didn’t start very well against Arkansas, and came back and defensively dominated that game.
​I think it presents some challenges to them, because Florida does have some capability on defense. Again, they haven’t played up to par lately. Offensively, it’s a bit like South Carolina, in that I think they’re a little more talented offensively than they’ve shown. They just haven’t put it together. I think South Carolina just has a little more.
​I don’t think they can come out and light up the scoreboard against Florida, because they haven’t shown that ability to light up the scoreboard against anyone. I think when you haven’t shown the ability to score a lot of points on offense, that’s probably going to make most of your games close. I mean, that’s the bottom line. South Carolina’s sort of gotten it down with defense, and making some big special teams plays. I think that’s the recipe they’re going to follow on Saturday too.
Andrew:​Chris, I’m going to give you some advice. Drink a lot of coffee, because Florida doesn’t score either.
Chris:​Yeah. I don’t think anybody would expect a very high scoring game in this one, by any means.
Andrew:​There you go. Chris, tell everybody where they can follow you real quick. We’ll get you out of here, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Chris:​I’m at GamecocksCentral.com is the site. On Twitter, @GamecocksCentral. Check us out. Recruiting, football, all that good stuff from Columbia. Appreciate you guys having me.
Andrew:​You got it, Chris. Talk to you soon.
​Nick, good stuff from our man, Chris. Nick, did Chris just read transcripts from us from three years ago and repeat things?
Nick:​Did we just get trolled?
Andrew:​I think we did. I think he just literally, I think we need to copyright our man Chris.
Nick:​I’m sitting there, and I’m having déjà vu. I’m like, yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Yeah, I’ve seen that. Yeah, that makes sense.
Andrew:​Chris, it only gets worse, buddy. Trust me. It only gets worse. By the way, you’ll probably fire Kurt Roper, bring in some other coach who will won’t fix things, and get worse. Guess what? Then you’ll be looking for a new football coach. Things don’t get better.
Nick:​No. That was funny. I think we both had the same thought as Chris was talking. Just kind of like, you’re on Chapter 2. I know how Chapter 3 goes.
Andrew:​Yeah. I mean, whoa. That was definitely some crazy déjà vu going on there. Will Muschamp is not going to hold any punches back. I’m reading a tweet that he’s having his press conference as we tape this on Tuesday, a little before 1:00, and he said, “I had a wonderful experience at Florida, despite how it ended. That won’t ever change.” Okay. That also means that you want to kick Florida’s ass, and I don’t think you’re going to be pulling any punches back this weekend.
Nick:​Listen, if South Carolina’s offense finds some success, and the Gators check out like they did against Missouri, Will Muschamp will be a third base coach staring at Kurt Roper waving his arm. Keeping going. Come around third. Go home. Keep it going. Will Muschamp will score as many points as he can.
Andrew:​Will we have any plays at the plate?
Nick:​No.
Andrew:​Hold on. Let me ask you this then.
Nick:​Boom will chuck the catcher.
Andrew:​Let me ask you this then. Will the third base coach come under scrutiny for sending him home and not holding him up?
Nick:​Will Muschamp will find a way to come under scrutiny.
Andrew:​Yeah, Nick. That did sound very similar. That was weird. I’m not even going to lie.
Nick:​It’s like it’s just so funny, because I think we back in time. You and I had the same exact thought. That would be concerning to me, if I was covering that team or a fan of that team, that would concerning to me that two Florida writers are like, “Oh, that’s weird. That’s what we sounded like three years ago.”
Andrew:​For real. Let’s move on. We hinted at this in our opening, and I wanted to get your opinion on this. I’ve been very vocal on Randy Shannon, and I want you to tell people what you thought of things on Monday of the train wreck, because I feel like sometimes my opinion is taken as me not liking Randy Shannon, and it really has nothing to do with Randy Shannon as a person. I’m just not a fan of his coaching style. Tell me what you thought about his press conference, and just why you thought it was a train wreck.
Nick:​There were just no answers, and then it got worse when we talked to the players after, because to me the big thing was he said Eddy mishit five kickoffs. I’m like, “He’s one of the best kickers in the country. He’s not going to mishit five kickoffs.” Then we go to talk to Eddy, and Eddy says, “No. I didn’t mishit them. I was trying to do that.” I said, “Did the coaches tell you to?” “No.” “So you just did it on your own?” “Yeah.” To me, it’s like maybe Shannon is lying to us to protect Eddy, but then Eddy comes in and tells us, “No, I went rogue. I just decided to do it on my own.”
​To me, I get the impression, and Shannon yesterday called Lamical Perine a true freshman in his Paisano’s radio show. Last week he kept calling Malik David Feliepe Franks. He just doesn’t seem to have a pulse of this football team, other than maybe the defense. I get it. He was the defensive coordinator. He doesn’t need to know what the offense is doing. He doesn’t seem to have an idea of what’s going on with the football team, other than the guys that he was specifically coaching.
Andrew:​Let me ask you this. I want to say my opinion, and I want you to correct me if I’m wrong when I say this. Was the most disturbing thing not when he said that he had no idea of what was going on in the locker room?
Nick:​He kind of talked in circles there, and I don’t even know what he meant. He’s like, “Well, I don’t know what’s going on in the locker room, but I have a sense of what’s going on.” To me, he was trying to say, “I know what’s going on in the locker room, but there’s stuff that you just let players do,” kind of like govern themselves. You know what I mean? You kind of have in a locker room setting you can have coaches, but sometimes real changes is affected when you have players only meetings, and when players hold each other accountable. I think that’s what he was trying to get after, if that makes sense.
Andrew:​Yeah. Was it not weird though?
Nick:​He did not say it correctly. To me, that’s what he meant. The words he used, if you were just reading a transcript of it, you wouldn’t come to that conclusion.
Andrew:​Right. You know what I’m saying though.
Nick:​He was stumbling over his words. Yeah.
Andrew:​I’m not even going to lie, Nick. I felt major disrespect for Lamical Perine, and I understand it, and I’m sure there’s going to be somebody that tells me that I’m biased. I don’t hide my bias. I felt major disrespect for him when he publicly called him out for that, especially when I’m sure Randy Shannon understands that Lamical Perine had a bum shoulder in the game and was hurting a little bit in the game. Give me your opinion, so that I don’t feel like I’m just giving my biased opinion.
Nick:​To me, he referenced a play when it was 1st and goal on the 2. Perine gets down to the 1. Then you get, I think it was a holding or a false start. He went backwards. You end up taking three points when you had 1st and goal from the 2-yard line. I would not call Lamical Perine. When you go back and watch the game again, which I did. I don’t know why. You see the effort and lack of effort. There was no lack of effort from Lamical Perine. I would not have called him out for that one play. Should he get in? Maybe. Randy should also know, and it goes back to what I said where I don’t think he has a good pulse of the team, Perine had already banged up his shoulder before that.
Andrew:​Right. I guess that’s what I was getting at. It just kind of seemed like that. Let’s dive deeper into this, and we’re dissecting things with Randy, and I’m just waiting for my Twitter mentions to blow up. The David Reese conversations, him not really knowing, and kind of backing himself a little into a corner with it. It was like he was talking about how he liked him, but then he didn’t address him, and then he says he didn’t like him, or maybe he did like him. I’m just being honest, Nick. It almost seemed like he was in over his head a little bit.
Nick:​You’re talking about at the press conference?
Andrew:​Yes.
Nick:​Yeah. I couldn’t argue that.
Andrew:​I liked David Reese’s comments, because my way of thinking is somebody needs to step up around this football program. Did I expect it to be David Reese? No. I didn’t. I didn’t expect it to be David Reese at all. Somebody needs to tell these guys that this is bigger than things. It’s kind of weird a little bit, because you look at what Randy said about recruiting, and about how he tells guys that recruiting is bigger than coaches, and it’s all about the brand and that kind of stuff. Then you want to sit here and say, why are your players not getting that message? I understand too, players don’t always listen and that kind of stuff. I was cool with it. Personally, I kind of wished, in a way, Shannon would have addressed it and maybe talked about it with his team a little bit.
Nick:​Yeah. I think that’s also kind of what he was getting at when he said he didn’t know what was going on in the locker room. You kind of want to have a guy like a Jarrad Davis. Jarrad Davis, if he was on the team …
Andrew:​He’d be going ape shit crazy.
Nick:​Yeah. He would have ripped somebody’s face mask off. He would have been so pissed. I think that’s what Randy wanted. In his mind, Randy is probably thinking, “I don’t need to address the team, because I got what I needed from David Reese.” It probably means more coming from David Reese. Freddie Swain got into the offense a little bit at half time of the Missouri game. It’s kind of a thing like when your mom or your dad, when you’re growing up, tells you something, and you brush it off. Then a friend or an uncle says something, the exact same thing, and it resonates, and you listen to it. I think that can happen when you hear something from a player, your peer, rather than hearing it from an interim head coach, who’s probably not going to be here in a month.
Andrew:​Okay. I get that. Like I said, I kind of was hoping for a different message with it.
Nick:​Listen, it sucks that we’re sitting here in November, and you’re just now getting that kind of leadership, but at least it’s two freshmen. Swain got in on the offense and the receivers, and Reese got in.
Andrew:​Sophomores.
Nick:​Sorry. I just pulled a Shannon. It’s good that it’s sophomores, younger guys, guys that will be back next year.
Andrew:​Yeah.
Nick:​As much as Florida kept saying, “We have lots of leaders, we have lots of guys that step up,” you don’t have lots of leaders. That’s not how it works.
Andrew:​No. That’s kind of even what surprised me a little bit on Monday, when Randy Shannon was kind of running through the leaders of the team. He said Marcell Harris was a guy that was a leader, and I get that. Then he said it was Nick Washington, and then he said it was Jordan Sherit. That’s three guys.
Nick:​He said Jordan Sherit, then Nick Washington, and Nick Washington got hurt before Jordan Sherit.
Andrew:​Right. Sorry. I messed up that.
Nick:​He messed that up.
Andrew:​What was I was getting at was that’s all defensive guys. He never mentioned an offensive guy. That was bad. That was bad that there was no offensive guy there. Like I said, we’ll see. We’ll kind of see where things go. I’m not expecting things to get much better this week. Personally, I hope they do, because I do believe that these guys deserve an opportunity to get to a bowl game, just because I think some of these guys have played hard. They didn’t ask for this situation either. Get on me all you want about that. Whatever. I do think these deserve to go to a bowl game, so they need to find a way to win out. That’s going to be tough.
​We talk about, you and I, and we joke about they’re going to get blown out about South Carolina. It’s not about talent. It’s not about talent at all. Florida’s got more talent than South Carolina.
Nick:​Yeah. Certainly do. South Carolina’s got a better quarterback.
Andrew:​Better quarterback, and I think they’re more of a team right now. They’re together right now. I think that’s the thing that we have to remember is that that’s a big thing. It is what it is. It’s a big thing. Right now, in early November, late in the season, it’s a big thing.
Nick:​You’re right.
Andrew:​That’s where I’m at. I wanted to get into this a little bit more, and I wanted to say kind of where my keys were in this game. I go back to this. I’m going to say it again. I feel like I say this every week, but it’s the mood of the team. It’s the mood of the team, how this team comes out and plays from start to finish. That is going to be the mood of the team. If they come out starting strong, and play as a unit, I think they can do some things. If they come out with that effort they had against Missouri, I think this gets ugly.
Nick:​Yeah. I think there was almost a sense of like the defense got off the field. They gave up a bunch of yards on that first drive, but got off the field. Got off the field in the second drive. Florida goes 3 and out. Then they got off the field on the second drive. Defense gets off the field, forces a punt, and then Powell kind of fumbles it. They score. Then I think from that point it got to, towards the end of those Muschamp days you used to say the defense would look up, see 7-0, 14-0, and go, “We’re not scoring that,” and then pack it in. I think that’s what you saw.
​I’ve seen nothing from this team, despite what they tweet, that would tell me that they wouldn’t do that. If they go down 14-0 against South Carolina, I’ve seen nothing from them that would lead me to believe that they wouldn’t just pack it in again.
Andrew:​I’m with you. I agree. It’s not what you want to hear, but I agree with you. I think it’s a situation where they need to come out and play well. We talk about Zaire, and he’s going to get the start again. My way of looking at things is let’s see what he can do airing it out a little bit. You aired it out in the second half of the Missouri game, and you did okay. Of course, you had the one interception. That was a terrible pass, but go out and try to hit the middle of the field again. It worked some against Missouri. See if it’ll work this week. You know South Carolina’s going to be prepared to stop the run.
Nick:​Yup. How about this. Let Malik Zaire run.
Andrew:​That’s what I was going to say too. Let Malik Zaire run. Let’s get Malik Zaire in his comfort zone. Let’s see Malik Zaire running the zone read. I mean, let’s see him running some option. I want to see fun football with Malik Zaire. I want to see what he can do. I mean, I read this story today, and it’s something I didn’t even think about. There’s still that talk that Malik could apply for another year, because of his ankle injury. Maybe he’s making a pitch to come back. If some of the coaches that are being rumored to come to Florida, they’re going to need that spread quarterback a little bit. Malik could be that guy.
Nick:​Yeah. That’s something. You file for that kind of stuff after the season.
Andrew:​Right. We’ll see. We’ll see on that. Nick, anything else before we get out of here?
Nick:​I want to know your opinion. The Florida State Seminoles will be playing on December 2nd, but it will not be the ACC Championship game, which is also played that day. They have rescheduled their game with ULM.
Andrew:​I think it’s a situation of just trying to get bowl eligible. It’s kind of laughable a little bit, but what if they schedule that game, and it means nothing? Then nobody shows up.
Nick:​Who’s showing up to that game?
Andrew:​I don’t know. I don’t know, Nick. I don’t know.
Nick:​Oh, my God. If Miami gets it, right now only Miami or Virginia could win, I don’t know if they’re Coastal or Atlantic, whatever. They’re the only ones that could win their division. How bad will FSU get trolled by Miami fans when Miami’s also playing on that day for a chance at a championship, and Florida State’s hosting the University of Louisiana Monroe?
Andrew:​What would be funnier though is if Monroe beat them.
Nick:​Oh. What a bunch of losers.
Andrew:​Here’s the thing, will Jimbo Fisher still be the coach there, or will he be at Texas A&M?
Nick:​I can’t believe they want Jimbo gone. That’s such a joke.
Andrew:​If I’m Jimbo, and I do believe he had some interest in that LSU job, more than he wants to put out there, but if I’m Jimbo, and I’m seeing the way these people are turning on me in one year, I am looking for the best job to get out of there.
Nick:​Why not?
Andrew:​Why not? That’s exactly right. You see what happened to McElwain.
Nick:​Trading one crazy fan base for another though.
Andrew:​Yeah. A&M fans have put up with Sumlin a lot longer than that. We’ll see. Then again, there’s still a little bit of question marks about Jimbo. I mean, he doesn’t have his two best players that he’s ever had in Winston and Dalvin. It’ll be interesting to see. Nick, we’ll get out of here. Guys, if you’re looking for a coupon code, hit one of us up. We’ll get you there. We had a lot of good stuff, some good posts about kind of why Florida’s in the predicament they are now, and had a lot of good stuff on the message board with basketball, with recruiting and football, everything you need to know. We got the early signing period coming up for basketball and baseball. That’ll be interesting as well. Hit one of us up. We’ll get you that. Nick, tell everyone where they can find us.
Nick:​www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Podcast is also on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe. Leave a rating. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew:​There you go. All right, guys, we appreciate it. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick:​You stay classy, Gator Country.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.